CLARKSVILLE — A more than three-year-old civil case related to a proposed apartment complex in Clarksville is headed back to court after the town council denied a settlement agreement.
At a June council meeting, attorneys for Plum Creek Crossing LLC, brought the settlement agreement to the board where it failed to get a second on the first reading. The council then took a vote to deny the settlement. The vote was 6-1 with council member John Gilkey opposed.
Developers initiated the process for Plum Creek Crossing Apartments — a 56-unit complex on Westmont Drive in Clarksville’s north end — in December 2016 by requesting a rezoning of roughly three acres of land in that area from residential to commercial.
Over the next several months, developers believed that the project was heading to fruition, as town staff and contractors’ reports indicated the project would be positive for the town. On March 1, 2017, the Clarksville Plan Commission approved the rezoning, sending it to the council with a favorable recommendation, But when it came before the council two weeks later, it was denied 4-3.
Developers filed suit against the council and the four members who had voted against it — A.D. Stonecipher, Paul Fetter, John Gilkey and Jennifer Voignier — the complaint stating that the decision had been “arbitrary, capricious, illegal and an abuse of discretion.”
In December 2018, special Judge Terrence Cody ruled for partial summary judgement and ordered the council to approve the rezoning. The council appealed and in May 2019, it was remanded back to Cody’s court.
The settlement brought to the council stipulated that the board would agree to the original rezoning request, that the developer would adhere to commercial residential standards and that both sides would pay their own attorney’s fees.
Councilman Gilkey, the lone vote against denying the settlement, said he had changed his mind from his original vote in 2017 due to other construction in the area,.
“I voted against it originally because there was a concern by the local residents about the size of the apartments and the proximity to the residential single-family homes,” he said. “In my estimation, that concern was resolved when the townhomes went in and provided a layer of insulation between the other single family homes and the apartment development.”
The apartments are near the Plum Creek subdivision, which is made up of single-family homes. Councilman Stonecipher, who represents the district where Plum Creek and the proposed apartments would go, said there would need to be changes to support new construction such as the units.
“We didn’t then and we don’t now have the proper infrastructure for traffic,” he said, adding that it includes a new apartment complex being constructed in neighboring Sellersburg. “I would normally be in favor of density, in order to provide more price points in community housing, [but this] did not make sense to allow for further density on a street that desperately need a stoplight.”
Stonecipher added that the area is also lacking in green space.
An attorney conference has been scheduled for July 9 in the lower trial court.